Zucchini Gemelli Cilantro Pesto
Photo: Aubrie Pick; Styling: Fanny Pan
Yields 4 Servings Total Time 25 mins
AuthorSunset Food Editors

A seamless blend of Italian and Mexican flavors, this meal is efficient too: The pasta and zucchini cook together in the same pot. Although you can use any pasta you have lying around, a twisted one is best at trapping the pesto and delivering it in every bite.

How to Make It

1

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until barely tender, about 8 minutes, then add zucchini. Cook until pasta is al dente and zucchini barely tender, about 3 minutes (it will continue to cook off the heat). Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.

2

Meanwhile, put oil, cumin, lime zest, garlic, salt, and 1/2 cup pepitas in a blender and blend until smooth. Add 2 cups cilantro; process just until smooth, about 15 seconds. Pour into a bowl and stir in lime juice, chile flakes, and 1/2 cup cotija.

3

Return pasta and zucchini to warm pot. Toss with cilantro pesto and pour in enough pasta water to loosen. Divide among 4 wide bowls, then sprinkle with remaining cotija, cilantro, and pepitas.

Ingredients

 12 oz gemelli or other short, twisted pasta
 3 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1⁄4 in. thick
 ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
 2 tsp ground cumin
 1 tsp lime zest
 2 garlic cloves, smashed
 1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
  cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), divided
 2 cups tightly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems, plus about 1⁄4 cup leaves
 3 tbsp lime juice
 ¾ tsp crushed red chile flakes
 ¾ cup crumbled cotija cheese, divided

Directions

1

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until barely tender, about 8 minutes, then add zucchini. Cook until pasta is al dente and zucchini barely tender, about 3 minutes (it will continue to cook off the heat). Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.

2

Meanwhile, put oil, cumin, lime zest, garlic, salt, and 1/2 cup pepitas in a blender and blend until smooth. Add 2 cups cilantro; process just until smooth, about 15 seconds. Pour into a bowl and stir in lime juice, chile flakes, and 1/2 cup cotija.

3

Return pasta and zucchini to warm pot. Toss with cilantro pesto and pour in enough pasta water to loosen. Divide among 4 wide bowls, then sprinkle with remaining cotija, cilantro, and pepitas.

Zucchini Gemelli Pasta with Cilantro Pesto